Morning Meanderings…. More About The Banned!

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Coming in a little late today – my shenanigans of yesterday morning (up at 3:30 am to be the first one at the library books sale and then working the sale until 8:00 pm last night took its tole.)  Holy smoked was I TIRED.

If you missed yesterdays pic – I actually set up a tent at the sale as a joke:

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Today – I am back working the sale now until 8 pm tonight.. I feel a little more rested and ready to roll, but quickly taking a break to write this post.

We have more awesome peeps writing about banned books today!

 

Jennifer at The Relentless Reader reviewed Fun Home by Alison Bechdel a book I had never read (or heard of!) but now want to!

 

Elle at The Erratic Project Junkie talks about when censorship backfires – right there in her own corner of the world.  It is a great post!

 

Wesley at Library Educated (love that name!) rants about Why The Caged Bird Sings in a passionate way that will make you want to read the book!

 

Julia at Diary Of Word Nerd talks about Perks Of Being a Wallflower and a chance to win a gift card!

 

Kimberly at Truly Simply Pink talk about her favorite banned book and what The Huffington Post is saying this week.

 

Thats whats new.  Please check out these great posts  Banned book awareness is so important!  I am off.. .I had better get back to that book sale 🙂

 

Morning Meanderings… by the time you read this I will be gone…

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Good morning!  Welcome to the Thursday of Banned Books week.  But wait… where am I???  I have left at 4 am this morning for the book sale at the Library.

Why so early?

Because I am in competition to be first in line.  I know.. I know… ridiculous for sure… but honestly… it is fun.  In the spring I missed my number one spot by 5 minutes because this girl *finger pointing at me* stopped to get coffee.  I know!  I really need to control my caffeine urges!

But now…

I have a strategic plan… I have joked for years about camping out the night of the sale… and this time.  I am doing it.

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Mmmmm hmmmm…..  that’s the way we I roll.

 

SO thats what I am doing.. more on the sale and all that later…. for now.. lets add our newest contributors to Banned Book Week:

 

Kym at My Book Nook shares her thoughts on the banned book, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

 

Erin at Quixotic Magpie talks about the banning of Judy Blume’s Blubber.  (She has a great quote about bullying on this post!)

 

Over at Eclectic Alli there is talk about Favorite Banned Books!

 

Kelly from the Well-Read Redhead brings us information on Go Ask Alice -who the author is not so anonymous after all… AND she has a giveaway!

 

Bex from An Armchair By The Sea writes about why Banned Books Week is not to be celebrated – great post and GIVEAWAY!!!

 

My close encounter with Of Mice and Men and a Giveaway too!

 

And of course do not forget the posts and giveaways from earlier this week… they are still going on!

 

That’s it… because really… I am not here anyway!  😀  Banned book post later today!

 

ATTEMPTED BANNING – Of Mice and Men… Under ATTACK

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Earlier this week this post was on Books Are My Thing.  I am now posting it here as well as it is my personal story about a book banning that hit way too close to home and I think it is important to share the details of how a group can fester into attacking a book.  ~Sheila

 

I am a huge advocate of Banned Books. Ever since I discovered these books about 4 years ago, and what books they are and why they have been banned or challenged… I have come to love them and support them. Which is why – I was all the more disheartened by a happening in my own home town of Brainerd Minnesota this past February.
A friend of mine had called me and said that a mutual person we knew, I will call him Dave, was looking to put together a local team of people who would look at books for our school library. This sounded very positive to me and my friend had said that she had given Dave my name as a possible person of interest in this project. I had visions of helping to promote books for the high school and being President Of The Friends Of The Library as well as on our city Library Board, I was thrilled about the concept.
Then, the phone call came.
Dave had left me a message and as I listened to it, my heart sank. Dave mentioned that this team he was putting together was a team that would take books out of the system that he and his team deemed inappropriate, in fact – they had a book they wanted to tackle right now and hoped I would join in their fight. The book he described as being of poor quality, severe language and idea, and taking the Lord’s name in vain. As his message went on I wondered what book could it be that had him so fired up… could it be 50 Shades Of Gray (a book I have not read nor do I plan to read it so I did not know its exact contents), or maybe I thought it was Hunger Games….
When Doug mentioned the book title, my heart fell.

 
Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck.

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As Dave spoke I quickly googled Of Mice And Men on my laptop to see what the issues were. I had not read of Mice and Men, but had a copy at home on my book shelf with the classics.
When I looked it up I found this:
Why Is Steinbeck’s Work Considered a Controversial Book?
Of Mice and Men offers a wealth of rich themes, insight into the deeper levels of the human mind, and an open doorway into some of the darker issues of life — death, racism, sexism, false hopes, and the harshness of poverty. For educators interested in stimulating the minds of their students and encouraging critical thought John Steinbeck’s controversial book is perfect; so, why was it a banned book? The following are complaints that have arisen in the past, are of concern to parents today, and will probably be brought up in the future:
• Use of the ‘N’ word;
• Some claim it’s derogatory towards African Americans;
• Some claim it’s derogatory towards women;
• Profanities;
• Racial slurs;
• Violence; and
• Absence of traditional values.

 

Still, the students were High School Students that they were trying to remove this book from. That did not make sense to me. Clearly Dave did not know my stance at all with Banned Books, or my role at the Library. Not only was I not interested in his attack team – I was against what he was trying to do.
In the end, Dave did go ahead and have his day of trying to remove the book from the library and he failed. (See newspaper article)
For myself, it was pretty amazing to see firsthand what people try to do because they feel something should not be read.Honestly, I still get upset when I think about.  What Dave and his group should do is check out the banned books list… I know for a fact there is at least one book on that list that they would hate to see not made available to the public.  Why is it ok for anyone to think they can pick and choose for all?
Banning books is wrong. Just because you or I choose not to read something does not give us the right to say that NOBODY can read it. Books, like Of Mice and Men are part of our culture and history. I for one will be reading this book this year during Banned Books Week.

*puts away soap box… off to read a banned book*

 

Note:  Commenting on any of my banned book related posts this week will enter you into my giveaway.  (one entry per relevant comment)

Also – this posts comments will enter you into a chance to win a copy of Mice and Men.  It’s the least I can do.  😉

Morning Meandering… Half Way Through The Banned

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Wednesday!  I feel…..

good and going too many different directions for sure.  Why did banned book week have to fall in such a  busy week?  Board meetings, helping friends, dinner out, movies, and the book sale.  I think next year I need to plan a week at the cabin so I can just read what I want to read…

and really…. isn’t that what banned book week is all about?  Being allowed to read what we want to read?

Today I add another group of fellow passionate Banned Book Bloggers to the mix.  Please check out these amazing posts:

 

Stormi at Books, Movies, Reviews!  Oh My!  Posted about censorship with some great quotes!

 

Jenna from Lost Generation Reader has a giveaway for a banned book of your choice!

 

Vicki at Reading At The Beach has a review of the banned book, The Call Of The Wild by Jack London

 

Felicia at The Geeky Bloggers Book Blog talks about Book Banning In Texas as well as her super cool library and banned books AND a super cool giveaway too!

 

Sue at Book by Book shares her thoughts on Book Banning and what she is reading this week – great thoughts on banning! 

 

Holly At Gun In Act One (what a fun blog name!) writes a passionate post about the ridiculousness of trying to protect our kids from reading about drugs, alcohol, etc.. when the outcome of this use in the books is truly a reason to not do any of the above!  Seriously – check out this fun and meaningful post!

 

Ya hoo!  Let’s give it up for our great supporters of Banned Books!  Ya’ all complete me :).  And do not forget to check out those who have posted earlier this week.  There are fun posts and giveaways and I would not want you to miss out.  🙂

 

And since Felicia posted pics of her libraries Banned Books window… I figured I would post mine as well.  This is the window currently set up at the library.  Note that Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is front and Center… a personal attack on that one right in our town – more on that later today.  😉

 

 

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Have you picked up a banned book yet this week?  If not… are you sure?  Chances are you have read a banned/challenged book this year.

 

*Note:  Commenting on any of my banned book related posts this week will enter you into my giveaway.  (one entry per relevant comment)

Morning Meanderings… Good Bye Harry Potter

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Good Morning!  Happy Banned Book Week Tuesday!  I am having such a blast and there is more to come each day!  I have a sticky post on the top of the blog this week for the banned book posts and giveaways that fellow book reviewers are posting about the banned!  Please check it out as that will have the full list of those participating – great posts and great giveaways too.

Today two more posts go up from:

Tracy at Uncharted Parent is talking about The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and there is a giveaway!

Jennifer at The Book Den talks about her experience reading The Great Gatsby!

 

Please show both of these reviewers comment love, as well as the other that are linked to Banned book Week (top sticky post on Book Journey).

 

Harry Potter.  If you read me… you know.  You know of my unquenchable love of these books and my constant gushing about Dumbledore’s logic, Harry’s capacity for friendship in the worst of situations, JK Rowling’s brilliance from book one to book seven… every time I read them I pick up on something new and clever that ties in later down the story line….

Did you know the Potter books are banned books?

On a website I was reading called info please, I thought they put it very well when they said:

The most prominent objections to Harry Potter fall into three categories: they promote witchcraft; they set bad examples; and they’re too dark. Let’s take a look at each of those.

The Trouble with Magic

One school to ban Harry Potter was St. Mary’s Island Church of England school in Chatham, Kent. Head teacher Carol Rockwood explained that “The Bible is very clear and consistent in its teachings that wizards, devils and demons exist and are very real, powerful and dangerous and God’s people are told to have nothing to do with them.” She added that “I believe it is confusing to children when something wicked is being made to look fun.”

Rockwood is not alone. Her opinion is shared by others who believe that real witchcraft exists, and that all witches are evil. They fear that any books which have good witches or good magic—like the Harry Potter series—will lead people not to take the threat of real witchcraft seriously, and possibly lead them to take the Bible’s teachings in general more lightly. They might even lead readers to become witches themselves.

Others disagree. Some point out that Harry Potter is a fantasy, not a true story, and claim that even children know the difference between the two. Whether or not there is such a thing as evil magic in real life, it has nothing at all to do with the made-up spells and potions found in the books. As an editorial in Christian Century put it, “…critics are right in thinking that fantasy writing is powerful and needs to be taken seriously. But we strongly doubt that it fosters an attachment to evil powers. Harry’s world, in any case, is a moral one.”

Setting a Bad Example

Some people find the Harry Potter books to be inappropriate reading because of the way Harry and his friends behave. Some note that Harry “lies, breaks rules, and disobeys authority figures, including the professors at Hogwarts,” and that he ends up being rewarded and praised for his actions. They feel that heroes should be entirely good people who do as they’re told and respect others.

Others feel that Harry’s rule infractions are part of a long tradition in storytelling. A bit of rule-bending is necessary to get to a story outside of the ordinary, they say, but children can understand that behavior that makes a good story is different from behavior that’s good in general. They also point out that Harry’s rule-breaking does not go without any punishment. And some note, as Mike Hertenstein does in his review of the first Potter film, that “much of Harry’s rule-breaking… involves the principle of disobeying a lower law to keep a higher one—not to say he’s Rosa Parks, but who could criticize Harry’s violation of the no-fly rule to broom his way over a bully and stand up for his friends?”

Finally, some believe that even heroes aren’t perfect; Harry and his friends may do some things wrong, but they are positive role models on the whole, working selflessly for all that’s good and noble.

Scary Stuff

Some people think that the Harry Potter books—especially the later ones—are too dark and scary for children to handle. The series begins as Harry is orphaned, and he soon learns his parents were violently killed. There are intense battles. Good people die, suddenly and horribly. This, some say, is the stuff of nightmares, not something to be handed to kids as entertainment.

Ahhh…. Harry.  What they do not mention of course is how many kids came to love books and reading because of these books.  Both of my boys read the books.  I read the books to see what my boys were reading and soon, as the series went on – we had three copies of each book in the house as we could not wait to read them.

 

My favorite Harry Potter story is when we were reading the final book, I was ahead of my son Justin but wanted so badly to be able to discuss the book with him as soon as he read significant parts….

So…  I went through his copy and put a post it note on the next page of each BIG MOMENT with something like “Oh wow!  Can you believe she just said that?”

 

When Justin arrived at the first post it note he looked at me (we were both still reading) and said, “Did you do this through my entire book?”

 

I had.

 

No Harry Potter books.  No super cool memories like that one.  I am just saying 🙂

 

The year that final book came out I had a contest here for someone to sing a song about the ending of the series.  I can not sing… but I can write.  SO I wrote the words, and put it out there for someone to sing it.  Danielle responded to my plea:

 

I still love that….  that sums it up.  Harry Potter was for many of us the books our kids read, the books we read… the books we loved.  They are the new classics… and I for one, am so glad I was part of the first generation of Potter readers.

 

Banned shmanned.  You can not put a label on that.

 

Thanks for letting me rant and rave.  Any Harry Potter memories for you?  Your kids?  Your grand kids?  The crazy neighbor next door who looks a lot like Snape?

 

Pretty sure I am re-reading the whole series over the winter.

 

Comment on this post as well as any of the banned book related posts here this week and you will be entered into my giveaway for the week.  One chance per comment.

The Great Gatsby Movie (Movie From A Banned Book)

Gatsby movie

The Great Gatsby:  is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession for the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.

 

The Great Gatsby is on my TBR for Banned Book Week, but honestly I do not know if I will get to it this week… it is the last one on my list.  Last night I rented this movie for three reasons… 1) I had not seen it yet.  2) If I can not get to the banned book, I can watch the movie based off the banned book, 3)I needed a good look at the parties… there is a little something up my sleeve I am thinking about.

 

The movie is powerful.  Having never read the book, I was looking up information on the story online while the movie was on.  It is an incredible love story, which is normally not my thing but I was caught up in this one.

I found it sad to learn that the original printing of this book the book sold only 20,000 copies.  Published in 1925, Author Fitzgerald did in 1940 feeling the book was a failure… sadly, he never knew what it would become…

During WWII the book had new life breathed into it.  It became high school curriculum and went on to stage and film adaption.

My take away is that this is a beautiful telling and I personally am anxious to read the book.  I recommend you take the time to experience this movie made from a remarkable classic.

 

So why the banning? 

1aAccording to the American Library Association, The Great Gatsby was: “Challenged at the Baptist College in Charleston, SC (1987) because of ‘language and sexual references in the book.'”

The elements that have been cited for reasons for challenging or banning the book in the past are also essential to Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age setting. (Apparently some feel the 20’s best be forgotten…)  Jay Gatsby is a bootlegger, bad boy.

Lord Of The Flies by William Golding (Banned Books Week 2014)

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Originally published in September of 1954, a dystopian type novel where a group of British boys are stuck on an inhabited island who try to given themselves while waiting for rescue with disastrous results.  Lord Of The Flies has been called an early Hunger Games.

 

When a plane full of English school boys crashes onto a deserted island with no adult survivors, the boys ages 6 – 12 have to figure out a way to survive.

When Ralph, one of the older boys is voted to be their leader, and the runner up to his leadership Jack, a boy who will put in charge of the other boys and call them “hunters”, it looks like they are off to a good start.  They are each assigned duties like building a fire (so a passing boat might see the smoke), gather food, make shelter, and eventually hunt the wild pigs they find on the island.

Of course, boys will be boys, and the system quickly deteriorates as most of the survivors would rather swim and lay in the sun.  When Jack takes a team of boys hunting instead of maintaining the fire as he was supposed to things start to change for the worse.  Soon Ralph is being challenged by his authority and Jack feels that perhaps since he can provide food that he is the better choice for a leader.  The boys split into two different areas of the island.

While Ralph maintains Piggy, a heavier but also brilliant boy who with the help of his glasses can make fire, Ralphs team are not hunters.  While Jack leads a team that is fed well by the hunt, they are unable to make fire.  Unable to work together the two groups of boys turn savagely against each other; crazed from the heat and lack of basic survival needs with no adult supervision, the boys go too far…

and there is no turning back.

 

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In my quest to read all banned books during banned books week, this is a small (202 pages) book that has been on my classic shelf for a couple of years, waiting its turn to be chosen.  As I left for the cabin on Thursday afternoon, I grabbed this one off the shelf.

At first Lord Of The Flies took a few pages to sink into the rhythm.  The book starts out after the crash.  (Think LOST).  You do not receive a lot of back story here as to where they were going, but you do pick up that they are a choir.

As the book starts to movie forward you have Ralph who is mainly given leadership because he has the conch shell which calls the wandering group together.  Piggy, who is constantly and sadly made fun of throughout the book, is a young voice of wisdom. Jack, comes along as a stronger boy one who wants recognition and quickly finds he is skilled at hunting which impresses the other boys.

According to author William Golding, Lord Of The Flies was written to trace the defects of society back to human nature.  (There is a wonderful back story to the book in the final pages)

I read the book in the space of a couple of mornings at the cabin.  The book easily held my attention as the frustrations quickly rise when Ralph discovers that it is a lot of work to try to get things done hen only a few are doing the work.  When the boys turn against each other and start acting live savages (one group turning to wearing face paint made from berries and mud on the island, all society acceptances seems to flow away.

Towards the end of the book my eyes were flying across the pages wondering what was going to happen.

I am so glad I had an opportunity to read this book called by Time Magazine in 2005 “One of the top 100 books of all time” and having won many awards.

 

SO why was this book banned?

  • Challenged at the Dallas, TX Independent School District high school libraries (1974). 

  • Challenged at the Sully Buttes, SD High School (1981). Challenged at the Owen, NC High School (1981) because the book is “demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal.”

  • Challenged at the Marana, AZ High School (1983) as an inappropriate reading assignment.

  • Challenged at the Olney, TX Independent School District (1984) because of “excessive violence and bad language.” A committee of the Toronto, Canada Board of Education ruled on June 23, 1988, that the novel is “racist and recommended that it be removed from all schools.” Parents and members of the black community complained about a reference to “niggers” in the book and said it denigrates blacks.

  • Challenged in the Waterloo, IA schools (1992) because of profanity, lurid passages about sex, and statements defamatory to minorities, God, women and the disabled.

  • Challenged, but retained on the ninth-grade accelerated English reading list in Bloomfield, NY (2000).

 

Leave a comment on this post and not only be entered to win one of the banned book week prizes, but also one commenter on this post between now and next Sunday will be entered to win a copy of this book sent directly to your home from Amazon.

Have you read this book?  What are your thoughts on the comparisons to Hunger Games?

If you have not read it, would you consider reading it?  Why or why not?

 

 

  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Books; Reissue edition (July 27, 1959)
  • Language: English